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My work reflects a personal translation of the physiological experience of aerobatic flying. As an artist and a pilot, what draws me to aerobatics is the hyper-stimulation of both the visual and vestibular senses. This extreme type of flying requires intense focus and sensatory interpretation. My goal is to create artwork that communicates this multi-sensory, multi-dimensional experience. My body of work is comprised of oil paintings, prints and works on paper.
My longstanding fascination with pattern and the decorative arts from other cultures has been at the core of my work for many years. Ornament appeals to me, both as form and as subject. Pattern is beautiful, decadent, and visually complex, and yet despite the visual activity, it inspires a meditative state. Pattern in paintings generally negates space, sacrificing depth for repetition, and simplicity for ornament. The idea of bringing space into a pattern painting has become one of the visual puzzles I am most interested in solving, and this is primarily due to the enormous importance of spatial orientation that is necessary to fly aerobatics. I am also concerned with capturing the vastness of the sky, and using scale shifts to signal that phenomenon.
The visual cues of spatial orientation (the horizon in relation to the airplane’s attitude) are crucial to flying aerobatics accurately and safely. In aerobatics, the vestibular system is constantly providing feedback that contradicts what the visual system knows, a phenomenon called spatial disorientation. The forces of gravity (G-forces) are thrilling, but gravity-induced sensations such as seeing stars and graying/blacking out during flight are not uncommon. When I fly upside-down several thousand feet above the ground, everything I see is cataloged in my brain for future painting reference. Visually, aerobatics provides stunning new perspectives. When I am in the studio, I am devoted to finding ways to translate these breathtaking and disorienting experiences of flying.
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